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November 10, 2020

What the Election taught us about Sitting in the Unknown.

Maybe the waiting was purposeful.

The almost, maybe, what if, not yet…

The Tuesday night adrenaline, the Wednesday slight sense of doom, the Thursday resurgence of hope, and the Friday exhaustion.

Like this entire year, this election has been about collective waiting—the bated breath, the limbo, and the not knowing which way things are going to go.

In the last week, we were brought together by impatience and the too close to call anticipation that sat restlessly in our sternums. We didn’t ask for it, and we resisted it. We were behind, we were ahead, and at some moments, we were stuck, watching the numbers stay stagnant as our anxiety grew.

We waited and thought, “What if it doesn’t work out?” “I can’t stand one more minute of this!” “How can we still not know what the outcome is?”

And then the clarity came on a bright Saturday morning at the moment we least expected it. I was on a walk getting coffee and had just taken my mind off the election for the first time in five days. But of course, the moment we let go is always the moment clarity comes.

I have never been a fan of waiting—waiting in line at the movies, waiting for a boy to text me back, and waiting to know what the next chapter of my life holds when I feel utterly without direction. I like answers, outcomes, things that are black and white, crisp and clean decision-making, certainty, and avoiding failure at all costs.

But life tends to give me situations where I have no choice but to practice the very thing I’ve been praying for. “You want to learn to feel deep self-love? Here’s a rejection from a guy you’ve been dating!” “You want to learn how to get better at waiting? Here’s an unprecedented slow election!”

And this is the thing I realized about having to wait for a president-elect and life: it never seems like a good idea while it’s happening. It’s rarely desirable and really uncomfortable. But we wait because this is how progress happens—little by little, slowly, and not all at once.

We wait because it reveals that everything is elastic enough to change, and we learn from remembering that nothing is permanent. 

We wait because, for those moments of holding our breath, there is nowhere to go, and we have to turn inward, quiet, and present. We are on pause. It doesn’t feel like a gift, but it is.

We wait because the most beautiful part about things is how they unfold into what they become.

We wait because goodness takes time. It needs an incubation period. Like pregnancy or the blooming of the spring peonies, nothing happens overnight. When there is a weight, there is a wait—we cannot have one without the other.

We wait because if there was no long, full, expansive inhale, there could be no exhale.

Maybe we are supposed to wait for the good, right things in life. Maybe waiting periods—periods of limbo, unknown, and grey—are not things going wrong, but things going right. This last week, as democracy took its course, the waiting was a sign of health—every vote counted; every person heard.

Maybe every time the universe has us in a period of our waiting, it is merely counting the ballots of our own lives, crunching numbers, laying out our path, and determining where we are to go next. Why would we ask it to hurry when it’s preparing us for the biggest role of our lifetime?

We wait because the process of inching closer to clarity—the experience of watching the margins between who we were and who we can be getting smaller and smaller—is itself the reward.

We wait because after the wait comes the work, and sometimes, we aren’t prepared for the work. But we will be. We wait because we are being readied for our next task.

We wait because the exhale is glorious, and we deserve to be there fully when it comes—more resilient and hopeful than we were when it started. 

On Saturday morning, from the streets of New York city to the liberated cavities of our hearts, we knew the waiting was over, and the relief was palpable.

Wasn’t it worth it?

~

 

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